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13 Nov

exposing blogger politics & promoting togetherness.

i want to start off by saying right off the bat that i feel so lucky to be able to be living my dream of being a fashion blogger and i will never take that for granted. the blogger world is never something i would talk bad about considering it’s allowed me to live the life of my dreams. since i was a freshman in high school and started taking style seriously and learning more about fashion, it was my goal to somehow make a career in this industry. i remember when i started following my first blogger obsessions, cupcakes and cashmere and atlantic-pacific. over time, i found other style bloggers who i would follow and read up on consistently. what started as an interest became a lifestyle for me and now i’m fortunate enough to actually have a fashion blog of my own that people care to read and follow along. i’m truly blessed!

another point i want to make clear is that i have met so many amazing fellow fashion bloggers who i’ve personally seen are just as beautiful on the inside as everyone else sees they are on the outside. some of these blogger ladies have become close friends and confidants. a perfect example of this is when i moved to san francisco. i hardly knew anyone, but the blogger community instantly allowed me to meet talented and creative women who were kind and inviting. there are a handful of blogger girls i could name off right now {Tamryn from Wannabe Fashion Blogger & Veronica from Lombard & Fifth} who are every bit as kind as they are stylish and beautiful, and that really means a lot to me.

today i’m getting real about blogger politics. i want to talk openly about a lot of unsettling things i’ve noticed being a blogger who has been to countless events and met countless bloggers. this is something that has been on my mind for a very long time. considering i’ve been blogging for 3+ years, you could say it’s been on my mind for that long. note, i’m not trying to be mean to anyone in particular with this post, my only goal is to be open and honest about my experiences in hopes that a constructive and thought-provoking dialogue can take place. also, because i believe that pointing out a problem without offering a solution is just whiny, i have pointed out the biggest issues and offered what i think would help make it better. i’m not an expert in psychology or social interactions, but i think revealing these prevalent problems and talking about them constructively could help.

mean girls

if there is one overall theme that i’ve found in my interactions with a lot of bloggers, it’s that there is a very palpable high-school-mean-girls-can’t-sit-at-our-table type vibe. maybe it’s just personality differences and they aren’t meaning to come across like that, but considering i run into it time and time again in different settings at different events with different bloggers, i doubt it’s just my perception. i’ve talked about this with some of my other blogger friends and they said they’ve felt the exact same way. for some reason, the blogger community can sometimes feel like an extension of high school girl drama. i’ve gone to events where every eye in the room fixates on me when i walk in and vigorously scans my outfit, my shoes, my bag, and my body. no one introduces themselves, and when i break out of my comfort zone to strike up conversation with someone, i may as well be talking to a brick wall with fake eyelashes. rather than letting loose and enjoying an event with like-minded ladies, i’ve encountered many bloggers who stick tightly to the two or three girls they came with or already know, and act like they’d rather vomit than have a friendly chat.

the solution? be friendly! when you’re at an event, just accept that everyone feels a little uncomfortable in large social settings and help each other relax! as soon as that first person introduces themselves or you compliment someone’s shoes, it gets so much easier to bring others into the conversation circle or introduce your new acquaintance to someone you’ve already met, and then it’s like a chain reaction of interaction happening. it’s natural to be shy or reserved around people you don’t know, especially when it’s a room full of gorgeous ladies in just as gorgeous outfits. just ask robbie, i’m infamous for going beet red when i am meeting someone new for the first time and feel like i’m on the spot. but even flashing others a smile and saying a quick hi can remove the stuffiness in a room and make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.

your success lessens mine.

this is such a huge belief in the blogger world and it’s one that makes no sense to me. it’s the mentality that says if you succeed then i have failed, that there is not enough room for both of us, so better me than you. this attitude became the most apparent to me when i started preparing for my first trip to New York Fashion Week. i was so excited to be at the point in my blogging career where i could make this trip that i had been dreaming about since high school. as i wrote in my first NYFW guide post, i’ve had a bucket list for many years and ‘attend new york fashion week’ was one of the first things i put on it. it really was a dream come true that i was finally doing it for real. however, as i started the long and tedious process months in advance of preparing for the big trip to the big apple–events, shows, outfits, lodging, meetings, food, transportation, etc.– i noticed a very real coldness when i reached out to fellow bloggers who had been before.

the funny thing is that many of these were small to mid-size bloggers who had only been once themselves. yet, when i asked them for help or for more information or even to go with their group of ladies, i was essentially brushed off. very early when i was still only tentatively planning on going to NYFW, i messaged one blogger i interact with frequently if i could go with their group of girls. i received a dismissive response.

perhaps the most discouraging experience i had was messaging another blogger who i’ve always seen as equal considering we’ve always had around the same following and has been a good, healthy marker for me. we used to DM each other frequently about all sorts of things and had a good social media relationship. yet, when i asked her for some helpful tips to learn more about what i should know going to NYFW for the first time, i received replies that were dripping in condescension and honestly hurtful. i specifically remember her saying something like, “since you’re a smaller blogger you probably won’t get into big shows and will have to attend shows for companies that you’re not very familiar with.”  she made me feel discouraged and small, and i’ll be vulnerable in saying that it ruined the rest of my day after that conversation. i was so mad and sad. i was so excited to go to Fashion Week and my enthusiasm and earnest knowledge-seeking was temporarily knocked down by someone who had only been to fashion week once but wanted to make me feel like she was better because of it. rather than helping me out, i was made to feel like i was being a bother and that i wasn’t good enough.

the solution here is that we need to realize that another woman’s success doesn’t affect yours at all. there is more than enough room for all of us to succeed and get a piece of the pie. i just talked about my negative experience getting ready for NYFW, but i also had incredibly positive ones as well. i met some very genuine and real girl bosses who were very helpful and instantly swapped contacts with me. i ended up going to Fashion Week with a few of these driven ladies {love you, Two Peas in a Prada}, and it made all the difference. in preparing for the trip, i paid it forward by helping several other bloggers who reached out to me in sharing my contacts to get into shows and events. because i had seen the ugly side of bloggers who will keep information to themselves and decide who is worthy of a simple phone number or email address, rather than letting the brand decide who they invite, i was determined to be the exact opposite. if you are a blogger and you’re reading this, i will always be more than happy to swap contacts with you. i firmly believe that as women who are building brands, we should all support each other and have each other’s backs. save the cattiness for your high school homecoming drama. we are powerful women who need to stand together in order to be fully empowered.

fake it ’til you…fake it.

ask any blogger and they’ll say the biggest sin/taboo in this game is buying followers and likes. however, many secretly do it. i know several bloggers who buy likes on their photos, especially now that the Instagram algorithm has severely cut into engagement. the fact is everyone’s likes are down. i was at a restaurant event and met a fellow SF blogger for the first time. we were talking about Instagram engagement and i asked her if she noticed her likes were down with the new algorithm change. she replied positively, “oh totally. anyone who says their likes aren’t down is lying.” that was so refreshing for me to hear. neither of us were pretending like we were something we weren’t, we were just talking about the highs and lows of blogging.

i don’t know if bloggers think they’re being sneaky, but it’s very easy to see when a photo jumps from 50 to 500 likes in just a few minutes. or when you see a photo on your feed at night with 300 likes and the next morning it has suddenly leaped to over 1,000+ likes. what frustrates me about this is what i said earlier about those bloggers who are a good, healthy marker for me. when a girl starts out around the same time as me or has about the same amount of followers as me, i frequently look to them for inspiration and also to see if i’m progressing like i want to be. it’s healthy competition, nothing more. so when i notice these bloggers start to buy likes, i instantly lose respect for them because i can no longer support with them and hustle with them. they have sold out and caved to the easy pressure of taking a shortcut. i know one blogger who buys followers and then buys thousands of likes so her engagement rate appears as though it’s through the roof. many smaller brands and boutiques work with her because they probably don’t take the time to see if her likes are genuine, and it just feels a little dishonest to me. many smaller brands/boutiques are really sacrificing to send free product or pay for advertising, and they certainly wouldn’t be doing that if they knew the person posting was reaching significantly less people than it appears.

solution: there are no shortcuts to success. faking it usually only leads to more faking it to keep up with everyone else. buying followers and likes is selling yourself short big time. at the end of the day, there are countless tips and tricks out there to getting followers/likes and who’s to say what is okay and what’s not? i’m certainly not the Instagram police. but there’s something to be said for people who are genuine. remember that the cream will always rise to the top and there are no real shortcuts. i truly believe that.

be kind & grind hard.

as previously stated, this post isn’t meant to be negative, but instead offer a few positive solutions & suggestions to common blogger issues i’ve witnessed firsthand. i know i’m not alone in feeling the negativity and politics that come with being a fashion blogger. {i’m sure a lot of this applies to other industries, too.} all in all, i am absolutely amazed by the growth of the blogging world and the incredible community that has been built around it. i’ve met so many amazing women at events, shows, & on social media, and i am so glad to call quite a few of them my close friends. i think a lot of times people forget that behind the seemingly perfect photos and trendy clothes, we are real people with real feelings and real lives that aren’t always picture perfect.

i’m lucky to be in a community with so many fellow bloggers who grind as hard, if not harder, than i do for their success. they inspire me constantly. let’s focus on that rather than creating a superficial bubble of dog-eat-dog moves. there’s enough success to go around and i know so many bloggers who are worthy of it. let’s cut the politics and promote togetherness instead.

i wold love your feedback on this post in the comments below! enjoy this ‘sassy’ outfit! xx
tfox2476 tfox2518 tfox2482 tfox2500 tfox2488 tfox2523 tfox2477 tfox2497 tfox2491 tfox2524 tfox2512sassy sweater
white button-up
distressed denim
Rebecca Minkoff handbag
burgundy block heels {other colors here}
rose gold watch
Karen Walker sunglasses
Caramello liquid lipstick

photos by Torrey Fox